Hera H7 the perfect fit, says Con Kapralos
Hera Arms is probably a name quite unfamiliar to many Australian shooters and hunters. Based in Triefenstein, Germany their research, development and manufacturing facilities cater to the production of cutting-edge self-loading rifles and accessories to suit such rifle platforms as the AR-15, Ruger 10-22 and similar.
With logistics facilities in the US most of their products would be destined for that market, with Australian shooters having virtually no access to such firearms or accessories. Yet one recent line of interest to folks Down Under is a variety of chassis riflestocks called the H7 Chassis, which are tailored for short-action .308 Winchester barrelled actions such as the Howa M1500 and Remington 700.
While aftermarket chassis stocks aren’t new the Hera H7 is quite unique, being made from high-strength glass-reinforced polymer and aluminium with a distinct appearance and array of ingenious features. Local distributor Outdoor Sporting Agencies sent Australian Shooter a unit for the Howa M1500, which coincided with the new Howa Carbon Elevate rifle in .308 Winchester being reviewed concurrently.
The review chassis is black though tan and OD-green are also available. The unit was supplied with a matching Hera H7 AICS-style 5-shot magazine in .308 Winchester as well as an additional spacer, two special washers for the action screws and small Picatinny rail for mounting to the stock. A user manual and Hera pen were also included.
The Hera H7 Chassis riflestock is a drop-in fit, in this case for the Howa M1500 in .308 Winchester only and suited more to varmint profile barrels such as number six or seven contours. The chassis weighs 1330 grams and is 860mm long with the 10mm buttstock spacer fitted from the factory.
The detachable box magazine, also supplied, is made entirely from polymer and weighs 100 grams. Looking at the chassis it consists of three major segments in the buttstock, the bedding block which includes the pistol grip, triggerguard and magazine housing and forward of this is the fore-end, all three main segments using glass-filled high-strength polymer and/or aluminium in their construction.
The buttstock has some innovative features. The buttplate is made from hard polymer and has the toe angled inwards, probably an indication it was designed to be shot prone. The body of the buttstock has two polymer covers (one either side) which can either be removed or left attached depending on requirement. Removing the two covers reveals a hollowed-out section with a couple of slots furnished into the bottom and rear edges, no doubt for use with a tactical sling.
On top of the buttstock comb is a non-adjustable cheekrest which is also removable and attaches to the comb via four locking hooks, two flush-mounted sling swivel cups (one either side) providing another means to attach a sling. The buttstock is attached to the pistol grip segment by an aluminium spacer (two are supplied), the 10mm unit being pre-fitted to the buttstock with a longer 20mm unit available for users who require a longer length-of-pull.
The mid-section houses the aluminium ‘V-block’ which provides the bedding platform for the Howa M1500 action and is a solid block, superbly milled and finished to a high degree. Clamped to the aluminium chassis block with numerous screws is an outer polymer housing which also extends rearwards creating the pistol grip and rear stock tang, the pistol grip being quite slim and comfortable to hold with a shallow hook at the base. On the underside of the mid-section is the triggerguard and magazine well which is moulded integrally as part of the polymer housing anchored to the aluminium chassis block.
The triggerguard is generous in size and the front edge also houses the ambidextrous magazine release, while forward of this is the well which accommodates the supplied AICS-style detachable box magazine. The chassis is anchored to the barrelled action using the factory OEM actions screws though Hera provides two stainless steel pillars which need to be fitted to the chassis as well as two small stainless washers. These sandwich between the action screw-head and base of the pillars.
Moving forward the fore-end is impressive in design and finish. It’s made of a single piece of aluminum and is anchored to the chassis bedding block with three countersunk screws on either side. This is characterised by five M-Lok slots on either side of the top edge with another seven slots on the underside which is completely flat to allow a multitude of accessories to be mounted in the slots. The entire length of the fore-end sides are superbly finished in a cross-cut pattern which provides an excellent level of grip for the leading hand. As mentioned, both fore-end and chassis are designed to primarily accommodate wider profile barrels and these free-float easily.
It would be hard to mistake which barrelled action or application the chassis is for. The fore-end has ‘H7SA/H22 stock system ‑ made in Germany’ inscribed on the left while the right of the action has ‘HERA GMBH H7/HOWA’ impressed into the polymer cladding. Make no bones about it, this chassis is built to take all the punishment any discipline or field use can throw at it.
Installation and range test
Installing the H7 chassis to the Howa M1500 Carbon Elevate barrelled action is easily done by simply removing the initial stock. The two supplied washers are threaded on to the factory OEM action screws then the stainless steel pillars need to be inserted into the bedding block. Once everything is positioned correctly the action screws can be tightened to the specified 35-40^/lb using a torque wrench.
Range testing was much anticipated. One major adjustment required was to see if the cheekrest was needed and in my case its installation gave a better cheek-weld and alignment with the Zeiss V4 optic, length-of-pull just fine with the 10mm spacer installed. The detachable box magazine functioned as expected and was easy to load to capacity. One minus point for me personally was the hard recoil pad, as something with a bit more recoil-reducing properties would’ve been advantageous.
Overall, shooting the rifle with H7 Chassis over the bench was a positive experience. It’s squarely aimed at disciplines such as PRS or long-range prone as it’s made to accept varmint/heavy profile barrels in.308 calibre (I’m sure an H7 Chassis in 6.5 Creedmoor is on the cards and would be popular). Perusing several east coast firearms retailers the H7 Chassis was priced around the $550 mark which makes it affordable. More at www.osaaustralia.com.au